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12.19.2012

OLD - ESE


My aunt wrote me an email today.  In it she referenced a current event in society and then commented that she was most definitely sounding like an old person, an 80-year old.  I giggled inside because, though I'm 46 to her 80, I too feel like I am thinking and speaking old-ese any more. It's a sort of remember when, remember when it was better or different comparative approach to current culture.  

Not everything present or current is under par, over priced, or out of moral alignment. But there are things that are. My grandfather used to say, "The good old days weren't always good!".  He meant change can be good, sometimes!

As I sat in the waiting room at the car dealership where we bought our car, waiting on an oil change, there were brand new cars positioned in the showroom.  It's Christmastime and big red bows were flung across the cars.  It seemed a not so subtle Christmas gift idea I suppose.  Those cars in front of me cost anywhere from $25,000-$45,000.  My first house I bought cost $32,000 and I ate, slept and lived there.  It seemed out of alignment. 

Pumping gas in that same vehicle this week I was reminded that $55.00 to fill a car's tank with gas is a long way from the $10.00 a week it used to cost.  Our other vehicle costs roughly $60.00 to fill its gas tank with petrol.  That is $115.00 in gas every time we fill up cars to function in life; work and errands.  Neither of us drive far to work either.  That's a lot of money to drive. 

No matter how hard I try it seems I cannot get out of the grocery store for much less than $100.00.  Earlier in life that would have been half of what I spent for the entire month, including cleaning and hygiene products.  Now consumable costs take up a huge amount of our disposable income.  That did not used to be the case.  I'm not sure how families with kids still at home survive the gas and grocery bullets. 

Christmas shopping made me keenly aware of the cost of clothing.  A sweater at Banana Republic can cost $70-$100 (median income in my county is $44,354).  If you earn $800-$900 a week that ONE item is 10% of your weekly income.  Outrageous!  Let's pretend you shop cheaper than in that venue of stores. and your sweater or men's dress shirt is $30-$50.  You are still at roughly 5% of your income for the week.  Most definitely out of skew if you ask me.

With consumable prices where they are it is understandable how people struggle to save for retirement.  How to save to get to retirement when costs to live in the present are high is an issue.  I don't see that resolving itself any time soon. 

We all think cell phones are terrific.  It gives us flexibility, mobility and connectivity.  Most of us have no land line any longer.  But, I can guarantee that you pay more in cell phone/data packages than you would on a single land line.  We may have gained technology but there is a monetary cost to it.  We are not financially ahead as families with cell phone charges versus land line costs. 

The wants have now become the needs it appears.  And, they are costly.  Am I speaking OLD - ESE?

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